Friday, December 7, 2007

The Electoral College has been under a significant amount of scrutiny over the last several decades in our country. This debatable issue rears its ugly head in earnest once every four years, coinciding with the election of the President of the United States of America. Supporters of a strictly popular vote cite polls which show that over seventy percent of American voters would like their Presidency to be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally. While this is usually the case under the current process, it is possible for a different outcome to occur. For example, the majority of votes in the 2000 Presidential election were cast for Al Gore, yet George W. Bush still accumulated enough Electoral votes to win the election. Similar results were observed in two other previous elections, causing vast amounts of controversy over the future leaders of our country.

While the Electoral College certainly has its critics, there are also those that support the system and would like for it to remain the method of electing the President. There are several problems that would accompany the removal of the Electoral College. First of all, it would create a constitutional crisis and certainly get challenged in the Supreme Court. Another problem that supporters of the Electoral College fear is that a strictly popular vote will cause candidates to focus only on the most densely populated regions of the country, ignoring several states and even regions of the country entirely. It will eliminate any semblance of equality between states, a concept that our Founding Fathers had to work extremely hard for.

Ultimately, my partner and I were able to reach a compromise, although there were several issues that had to be taken into consideration. From his point of view, it was completely unacceptable to leave the process as it is, but I, on the other hand, felt that it would be impossible to reach an agreement if the Electoral votes were done away with. This made the mediation procedure significantly more difficult, but we came to the conclusion that the Electoral College could be kept if the manner in which votes were cast could be changed. I decided that I could compromise on the issue of every Electoral vote for a state going to the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state. By giving two Electoral votes to the winner of a particular state and dividing the rest of the state’s votes up according to district, the overall election moves one step closer to a strictly nation-wide popular vote, yet it ensures that every state still carries a significant amount of importance, forcing candidates to give each and every one attention during their campaigns. However, this is not an entirely revolutionary idea. Both Maine and Nebraska currently use similar district based systems, and we believe that if every state were to do so, it would lessen the controversy over the Electoral College and do a better job of electing the President of the United States in general.

Works Cited

Bennett, Robert W. Taming the Electoral College. Stanford: Stanford Law and Politics, 2006.

Kristof, Nicholas D. “No More Sham Elections.” New York Times 20 Nov. 2004: A19.

Richie, Rob. “Failing Electoral College.” Nation 285.9 (2007): 4-5.

“Should the Electoral College be Changed?” State Legislatures 33.7 (2007): 10-10.

Steinhauer, Jennifer. “Frustrated, States try to Change the way Presidents are Elected.” New

York Times 11 Aug. 2007: A1-A10.

U.S. Election System. Ed. Paul McCaffrey. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2004.

“Voting on the Electoral College.” Christian Science Monitor 96.227 (2004): 8.

“Why Keep the Electoral College.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Electoral Process was created for a reason, and it would therefore be foolhardy to eliminate it entirely. The key point that I am unwilling to compromise on is the maintaining of a certain amount of equality among all states during Presidential elections. This is an important aspect of our government that prevents the balance of power from being disturbed. A compromise that I am willing to accept is an increase in the importance of the popular vote. It is important that every person’s opinion has significance, but I believe that this can be achieved without eradicating the Electoral College.

A possible compromise that we have reached is to retain the Electoral College but change the way in which the Electoral votes are distributed. Every member of Congress represents a certain group of people, and the number of Electoral votes in each state corresponds to the number of representatives from that state. Since each representative is supposed to act on behalf of and according to the wishes of his or her constituency, it would make sense that each Electoral vote would serve a similar purpose. Under this new system, the candidate who wins the popular vote of the entire state would automatically receive two Electoral votes, but the rest would be decided according to district. For example, if a state had eleven electoral votes, two would be based on the state-wide popular vote, but the other nine would be based on the popular vote in each district. If a candidate won six of the nine districts, as well as the popular vote, he or she would receive eight electoral votes. However, the other three votes would go to a different candidate. This would allow the popular vote to have a greater effect on the outcome of the election, yet it would not force several states to become irrelevant and possibly ignored during the campaigning process.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Electoral College is a topic that arouses much controversy during the months leading up to the Presidential elections which take place every four years. Many argue that it is an outdated system of choosing our country’s next leader, but I disagree. In reality, it provides many advantages that a popular would eradicate. First of all, an election based directly on the popular vote would cause Presidential candidates to focus on only the most densely populated regions of the country. Many areas would be completely ignored because they are too thinly populated to make a significant impact on the outcome of the election. For a country that prides itself on diversity, it would not be practical to disregard entire sections of its territory. The Electoral College ensures that every state counts and matters, and it is certainly not the only part of our government that is built on this principle. We need to keep this system in place for the same reasons that we need the United States’ Senate; the Founding Fathers intended for representation to be based on population to a certain degree, but the Senate was created to give each state more equal representation. On the surface, the Electoral College seems to clash with the democratic principles of our country, but the fact is that the United States of America is not a pure democracy. The founders of our country actually intended it to be a constitutional republic, so by eliminating the Electoral College, our country would be pulled further away from the vision that led to its creation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The topic that we will be discussing for our Arguing to Mediate assignment is the Electoral College and its role in the election of the President of the United States of America. I will be arguing in favor of this process by giving a detailed explanation of how it works and outlining all of the advantages that it provides in determining the next leader of our country. Ultimately, I will attempt to convince my partner that this process should be kept and trusted to elect the person whom the American public wishes to represent the country as a whole.